Loafer shoes

Penny Loafer shoes – Gucci, Alden, Brooks Brothers, Bass and Tod loafers

“When they check to see if you’re prepped, the first thing they look at is your shoes,” said the Official Preppy Manual declared. And among the preppies, no dress shoe is as basic as the moccasin.

Whether you wear them with socks or without — as Matt Lauer did when he met Ryan Lochte, causing a bit of a furor on the internet — shoes are an undeniable style classic. And it turns out that a popular guy, Bass Weejuns, is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, according to the the wall street journal.

JFK has proven that loafers can be proper golf attire.


GH Bass & Co. introduced Weejuns in 1936 as a style based on slip-on shoes worn by 19th century Norwegian fishermen. Their name, however, was not finalized until Squire coined the term as an homage to the word “Norwegian” (the magazine later licensed the rights to the name, according to Bass).

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Bass Weejuns

When young people started putting coins in the slots on the tops of shoes, the nickname “penny loafer” seemed fitting, and it stuck.

In the 1950s, Gucci introduced the horsebit loafer, a version with a metal bar across the top designed to look like a horsebit. The classic version remains, along with a few other, shall we say, fierce versions (underneath).

We have Paul Lukas, a character actor working in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s, to thank for tasselled loafers, traditionally thought of as the “dressy” version of the shoe. The story goes that Lukas returned from Europe in 1948 with a pair of brogue shoes whose laces had tassels at their ends. He asked American shoemakers to create something similar, and Alden delivered, according to the Men’s Clothing Encyclopedia. The Massachusetts-based company added the design to its permanent inventory in 1952.

Leather, Brown, Purple, Product, Shoe, Dress shoe, Tan, Burgundy, Violet, Dance shoe,

Brooks Brothers and Alden made moccasins from cordovan, a leather known for its durability.

Brooks Brothers

Today, the moccasin still has a moment. Bruce Pask, director of menswear at Bergdorf Goodman, says the store is promoting loafers in a big way this year. Goodman’s sells “a wide assortment of Gucci loafers, as well as suede and leather loafers with tassels, penny loafers, horsebit and buckle loafers, casual loafers and evening loafers in patent leather or velvet, sometimes studded and embroidered with Berluti, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tom Ford, and at least nine other brands”, the WSJ reports.

Thank God. Long live the lazy.